Life can sometimes seem heartless. Stressors can come from work, from family, from unresolved trauma. We might show up to aikido training feeling afraid, angry, frustrated, depleted, not knowing what to do. Some of us look to leaders to save us, to show us how to live.
Aikido takes a different tack. It says: Look inside. Breath. Meditate. Find your inner strength. You could ask yourself, for example: ‘What’s bothering me? Is it important? Can I open myself to this moment and listen to where the universe is right now?’ The solution to my troubles may be only a heartbeat away, in the sound of a bird calling or the wind whisking it away..
When we find our psychological center and move from it, we develop a sense of calm and peace in all we do. We stand differently, walk and talk differently, and a quiet confidence arises, in spite of the stressors around us.
Have you ever simply listened to your mind, like how you might listen to your heartbeat? It goes on its own way, if we leave it alone.
Take a moment, then, when you’re alone, and watch your mind at play. Give it a little freedom, but not too much. Above all, don’t react to the sensations your thoughts create. If you can develop your equanimity to that degree, you’ll find your life filled with increasing peace.
When asked ‘what is the greatest good for families?’, the Buddha answered: ‘peace’. A peaceful family is a happy family and their days and nights are filled with love.
Aikido is the art of making connections. With our bodies, with others, with our perceptions, with the cosmos. We learn to live in a more than perfect world. If no one can teach us sensitivity, we can, at least, create the conditions for its emergence.
Enter the aikido dojo.
Aikido. The art of harmony. We take our shoes off. Wear a simple uniform to establish equality. We bow and start to move / our bodies in unison. We stretch to slowly awaken the body, to prepare it for the rigours of connection.
Connection is not easy. But it ́s simple. We know what we want. A feeling of togetherness. Freedom from loneliness, freedom from struggle, freedom from desire. Just to be free to move without any compunction, like we did when we were kids. Flying to the moon and conquering space on tip-toe, reaching and leaping..
But aikido is an art form in time too. And the impulse to move is more basic than life. It takes us all inside its dream, plants, animals, planets, stars and streams, clouds and rivers on their water-course way – to heaven and back. Like music’s abstractions, ethereal movements segue when we’re discussing art.
But how will I choreograph this elaborate dance of love to move with you? I will have to think it through, pause to feel the connection and the theme, running through..
Make Contact. Connect.
Then, move the point of connection.
Aikido works with contact. Minimal contact. Perhaps, a kilogram. And, we move this kilogram in different directions. Maintaining this light touch, we create spaces in unison.
There are no secrets in aikido. Yet, shouldn’t we speak in whispers when in class, so as not to disturb the discovery of the obvious?